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Even these dull intellects

Even these dull intellects

The New House at Holmswell lies, far back from the road, upon the great highway to Norwich. Local topographers delight to tell you that it is just forty-five miles from that city and five from the Cesarewitch course at Newmarket. They are hardly less eloquent when they come to speak of its late owner, Sir Luton Delayne, and of that unforgotten and well-beloved woman, the wife he so little deserved.

To be sure, the house is not new at all, for it was built at the very moment when the great Harry put his hands into the coffers of the monasteries and called upon high Heaven to witness the justice of his robberies. They faced it with wonderful tiles some years ago, and stamped the Tudor rose all over it; but the people who first called it "new" have been dead these four hundred years, and it is only the local antiquary who can tell you just where the monastery (which preceded it) was built.

Here, the master of a village which knows more about the jockeys of the day than about any Prime Minister, here lived Sir Luton Delayne and that gentle woman who won so many hearts during her brief tenure of the village kingdom. Well the people knew her and well they knew him. A florid, freckled-faced man with red hair and the wisp of an auburn moustache, the common folk said little about his principles and much about his pugnacity  The short stories were first collected in a little volume in 1879..


knew that he had been "no gentleman" and were not afraid to tell you so. His fame, of a sort, had culminated upon the day he thrashed the butcher from Mildenhall, because the fellow would halt on the high road just when the pheasants were being driven from the Little Barton spinneys. That was no famous day for the House of Delayne; for the butcher had been a great bruiser in his time, and he knocked down the baronet in a twinkling without any regard at all for his ancestry or its dignities. Thereafter, Sir Luton's violent speech troubled the vulgar but little, and when he rated Johnny Drummond for wheeling a barrow over the tennis-court, the lad fell back upon the price of mutton and took his week's notice like a man.

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